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??It took four months and a dramatic turn of events on one of the final plays of the NFL’s regular season for coach Sean McDermott and the
Buffalo Bills to finally ??and succinctly ??put to rest any suggestion the team
had any intention of tanking last summer.“I’ll let you guys handle
that Authentic Jakub Voracek Jersey ,” McDermott said, referring to reporters on Monday. “We’re moving on after today to the first round of the playoffs.”And
that’s all that matters to the first-year coach, who took the high road rather
than an “I told you so” approach some 18 hours after the Bills clinched the
AFC’s sixth and final playoff berth and ended a 17-year postseason drought ??the
longest in North America’s four major professional sports.McDermott never gave
into the doubters and instead preached a simple “Trust The Process” message that
resonated with his players.“Every season’s a little bit different. Every season
you go through tests and challenges,” McDermott said.“It’s going to try to pull
you apart. It’s going to test you, and it’s going to test your mental
toughness,” he added. “And our players hung in there.”Rather than packing up, as
17 of Buffalo’s preceding teams did on the day after the regular-season finale,
these Bills returned home to a jubilant reception early Monday.They were greeted
at Buffalo Niagara International Airport by some 400 chanting fans , who braved
2-degree temperatures after Buffalo beat Miami 22-16 and clinched its playoff
berth once Baltimore gave up a last-minute touchdown in a 31-27 loss to
Cincinnati.McDermott is even considering sending the Bengals a gift ??chicken
wings, perhaps ??as a thank you for Andy Dalton hitting Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard
touchdown pass on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left.And now, Buffalo (9-7) is
moving on in preparing to play at AFC South champion Jacksonville (10-6) on
Sunday.McDermott rewarded his players by giving them the next two days off,
before the team returns to practice Wednesday.They earned it.Buffalo overcame
exceedingly low expectations following a major yearlong roster overhaul which
led to the departures of numerous high-priced stars.Among the players traded
were receiver Sammy Watkins (to the Los Angeles Rams) and defensive tackle
Marcell Dareus (Jacksonville).The Bills’ secondary was retooled as was their
group of receivers, leaving the team to open the season with 24 holdovers from
2016.On the field, the Bills overcame the elements by beating Indianapolis 13-7
in overtime amid white-out conditions on Dec. 10.And the team failed to unravel
when McDermott’s decision to start Nathan Peterman backfired after the rookie
quarterback threw five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss to the
Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19.Buffalo could face even more adversity with
running back LeSean McCoy’s status uncertain after hurting his right ankle
against Miami.What stood out to McDermott was how the Bills responded to the
loss to the Chargers the following week by snapping a three-game skid with a
16-10 win at Kansas City.“If you’re going to put a landmark moment for this
first year Cheap Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , that was probably one of them,” he said of a win that improved Buffalo’s record to 6-5.“That goes back to the resiliency of
this football team and really what this city is all about … that no matter what
people say about us, we’re going to compete like crazy.”McDermott needed no more
validation of how his team has captured the imagination of its supporters than
witnessing the scene at the airport. Fans waved Bills flags and placards, sang
the team’s “Shout!” song and chanted “Let’s Go Buffalo.”“I’ve been around a
couple of playoffs or two in my 20 years around the NFL, and that was
unmatched,” he said. “This type of welcome home just speaks volumes about our
city and our fans.”Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said the staff and
players couldn’t initially see the fans while de-boarding the plane, but could
hear them.“We were like, ‘This is incredible.’ It just kind of brings home what
this means to Buffalo, to western New York,” Frazier said. “It just pushes you
on to want to keep it going and just show them how much we appreciate their
support.”Rookie tackle Dion Dawkins was stunned by the reception,“It’s 2 degrees
out here and they’re screaming their tails off,” Dawkins said. “This is just
flat-out unbelievable.”Funny, some were saying the same about the Bills’ playoff
chances four months ago, too. Denver Broncos fans have pretty much given up on
Paxton Lynch.
No longer do they fill the airwaves and social media posts with debates about how Denver's 2016 first-round draft pick should be learning on the job even
though he hasn't earned the Broncos' starting quarterback job.
They're wearing Case Keenum No. 4 jerseys now 49ers Cheap Jerseys , ready to move on from the crisp No. 12s that have gotten about as much wear and tear as Lynch's own game-day jersey.
Two men who aren't quite ready to label Lynch a blunder are general manager John Elway and coach Vance Joseph.
While that might seem predictable, both men are adamant that the ex-Memphis QB is just a late bloomer, not a bust.
Even after signing Keenum in free agency to a two-year deal and declaring the sixth-year veteran the team's starter, Elway has stuck by Lynch.
To the surprise of many, he bypassed a bevy of quarterback prospects in the NFL draft. After using all 10 of his picks on other positions, he declared that
Lynch is still young and hasn't run out of chances in Denver.
"We are not kicking him to the curb," Elway said. "He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, we knew it was going to take some time."
Elway added this caveat, however: Lynch will compete with Chad Kelly , "Mr. Irrelevant" as the final selection of the 2017 NFL draft out of Ole Miss, for
the backup job this summer.
The buzz around Broncos headquarters is that Lynch is a more dedicated pro this year. His performances on the field, at least those open to the media, have
looked a lot like his first two years: flashes of jaw-dropping brilliance but
still some head-scratching poor plays and bad decisions.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave saluted Lynch's red zone play Wednesday and said, "We want those decisions Manny Ramirez Jersey , those habits, to become part of his fabric so they can become natural, reactive."
Joseph praised Lynch in an interview with The Associated Press, saying, "I think Paxton is really motivated to show everyone that he can be a No. 1
quarterback in this league and watching him work this entire offseason he is
different because I've seen him a lot more up in the halls here.
"And that takes time to find your comfort zone with coaches, with your organization."
Joseph noted that Lynch has had three offensive coordinators in Denver so far, something that reminds him of another QB he worked with early in his
career.
"I was with Alex Smith his first three or four years and it kind of looked like Paxton because Alex had four coordinators in his first four years in the
league,'" Joseph said. "How can a guy comfortably get better as a quarterback in
a system that is brand new every year, right?
"These guys need time to develop as quarterbacks. We want them to walk in and play. Now some guys do. Russell Wilson walked in and did it. But most guys don't
do it."
What Lynch needs, Joseph said, is "time to be in a system for a two-year period and you will see real growth."
Joseph said he saw improvement last year even though Lynch was hurt most of the season and only started twice.
Like Elway, Joseph was impressed with Lynch's performance in the season finale, when he went 21 for 31 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two
interceptions in a 27-24 loss to Kansas City.
"He played that position very, very naturally in that game Joseph Noteboom Jersey Rams ," Joseph said. "Now, from that point to now, he's a different guy. He's 10 percent better. Now, when it comes time for him to
play for us this year and win a football game, he's going to be 20 percent
better because he's been with Billy for a year and a-half now in the same
system. That makes a difference."
First things first, Joseph insisted that Lynch still has to beat out Kelly in training camp to win the backup spot.
Yet, Joseph's effusive praise of Lynch reveals the degree to which the Broncos' brain trust still believes it didn't whiff by moving up to select him
with the 26th overall pick two years ago.
Joseph said Lynch deserves such patience "because he does have rare talent."
"Who wants to throw out rare talent before you give him a chance to develop?" Joseph asked. "I don't want to. John doesn't want to."
Notes: DeMarcus Ware, who retired last year, has been brought back to Denver as a part-time pass-rushing consultant. He'll visit the team a few times every
month and work a selection of home games, Joseph said.
.
Posted 17 Aug 2018

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